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04/14/09 7:29 PM ET
Suppan's next start pushed back
Brewers' struggling righty to face Mets on Sunday
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ken Macha flipped Jeff Suppan's and Yovani Gallardo's spots in the starting rotation on Tuesday, allowing an extra day for the struggling Suppan to work on his command before his next start. A team off-day on Thursday allowed Macha to make the move without disturbing the rest of his starting rotation. Yovani Gallardo, who had command issues of his own in Monday's loss to the Reds, will start in Suppan's place on Saturday on regular rest against Mets ace Johan Santana. Suppan will start on two extra days' rest Sunday, opposite Mike Pelfrey. The switch will allow Suppan to throw three between-starts bullpen sessions instead of his usual two. The first was on Tuesday afternoon at Miller Park, just after Suppan met with Macha and was informed of the plan. Suppan said he's on board with it. "Absolutely," Suppan said. "It wasn't a really big issue. [Macha] said, 'This is what we were thinking,' and I said, 'All right.'" Macha also downplayed the move. "It's only been two starts," Macha said. "It's not like other people haven't had two bad starts in a row. We're trying to get him back to pitching like his history dictates." Suppan is 0-2 with a 12.91 ERA in his first two starts and has allowed 11 earned runs on eight hits, seven walks and three hit batsmen. Six of the walks came in a loss to the Cubs on Sunday in which he walked four batters in the fourth inning, including three with the bases loaded. Suppan is winless in his past eight starts -- including one in the postseason -- dating to the start of last September and has surrendered 12 home runs in that span. He threw about 25 pitches on the side Tuesday afternoon and will do the same on Friday when the Brewers visit new Citi Field in New York for the first time. The extra session will probably be on Wednesday and will simply be a light throw on flat ground. The Brewers are off Thursday. "I'll get an extra day of rest," Suppan said. "And I'm working on throwing 'through the glove,' and this will give me an extra day to work on that. It's getting back on what I normally do, that I haven't been doing in my last two starts. It really came down to one inning [on Sunday] where I was guiding pitches instead of letting them go." He conceded that the days since that game have been a bit tough. "But you know what? There's nothing I can do about that now," Suppan said. "My focus is on my next game against the Mets." He is 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA in nine career starts against the Mets, but those numbers do not include two starts in the 2006 National League Championship Series in which Suppan surrendered only five hits and one run in 15 innings. He won series MVP honors, and those games contributed to convincing Milwaukee officials to give him a four-year, $42 million contract. One of the greatest moments of Suppan's career came at now-defunct Shea Stadium in that series. He worked seven innings in the Cardinals' clinching Game 7, holding the Mets to one run on two hits despite five walks. "I actually really enjoyed Shea Stadium," Suppan said. "The infrastructure, not so much, but the playing surface was really nice. I'm looking forward to seeing Citi Field."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.